DALTON HORACE MINTY BIOGRAPHY

I was born on January 16, 1923, the eldest son of Charlie and Lillian Minty (nee Goff). My earliest recollections involve playing with my younger brother Fred on the banks of a ravine which ran through our neighbour's pasture. These were fun times with the warm spring sun and winds gently blowing our blond hair. We picked wild flowers (mostly the Manitoba crocus) for Mum and chased gophers, but never caught them. My sister- Kathleen May, who was 17 months older than me, rarely accompanied us on these little excursions.

Perhaps the earliest incident which rests in my memory bank, vague though it may be, involved Dad pulling his enormous steam engine to its final resting place with an equally humungous Rumley tractor. If memory serves correctly my dad said this occurred in 1927. My memory is less fuzzy regarding events in 1928 because I have vivid recollection of Dad taking delivery of a new John Deere tractor and implements. In 1929, he expanded the farm operation to 640 acres with Dad proudly operating the tractor while Albert and Victor drove two, four horse outfits. The crops were excellent, but the price of grain plummeted and the stock market crashed in October. This must have been a cruel blow to Dad's plans and aspirations.

Growing up in the depression did not impose a significant hardship except that Dad could not afford to drive his McLaughlin Buick car during the snow free months of 1931 and 1932. In those days cars were not driven during the winter months. This resulted in fewer trips to Rocanville on Saturday nights. Nevertheless, we were blessed with parents who provided the essentials of life, which, for me, were food on the table, clothes on my back and 10 cents on Saturday night when we went into town. However we were expected to contribute our fair share of work to operate and maintain the farm. In general I enjoyed these activities with the exception of working in the large garden which I felt was a drag.
 

School was a pleasant experience and I enjoyed both the academic and sports activities. Baseball was my favourite sport and I was a pretty good player. High school consisted of two years of study by correspondence courses at Elim Elementary School with the cooperation and some welcome, voluntary assistance from the teacher. And I will be forever grateful to one of these teachers who taught me, after normal school hours, to appreciate the literature of Charles Dickens.
 

In October 1938, Dad sold the farm implements and livestock after more than 50 years of farming in Rocanville. He purchased and operated a blacksmith and machine shop at Onanole until his death in October 1944. We made inquiries about my attending grade 11 at Onanole, but admission was discouraged by Trustee Walter Dean. In retrospect, Dad should have enrolled me because despite Dean's attitude, there were no valid reasons not to do so.

During the following two years, my activities included assisting Dad, as well as brothers Albert and Victor. These activities included an assortment of jobs such as fighting forest fires, mink ranching, farm work,trucking, sawmill hand, logging etc. Hard labour and long hours were an acceptable way of life. Money was in short supply but adequate to provide clothes, food, recreation and a bicycle.
 

I had an unexpected, but pleasant experience in 1940 assisting a farmer (Mr Linton)at Eyebrow, Sk. to harvest his crop. The reason for this expedition was that Mr Linton's hired man broke his arm cranking the Wallace tractor and Harry Linton who lived in Onanole, asked if I would work for his father Mr Linton was in a bind because the war had deprived the labour force of men over the age of 17. Furthermore, new tractors were scarce and Mr. Linton decided to operate the Wallace one more year. Therefore, I had to drive this obsolete tractor which was not part of the aforementioned, pleasant experience. Mr. and Mrs. Linton were kind to me and the farms, in the Eyebrow area allowed me to experience the large scale wheat farming on the vast rolling plains. The crops were good and the horrid drought years of the thirties seemed to be a thing of the past.

On November 5, 1940, I enlisted in pre-RCAF training as an aero-engine mechanic in Moose Jaw, Sk. Graduation and formal enlistment in the RCAF occurred in March 1941. My training was completed at Toronto and St. Thomas, On in August 1941 and to my delight I was one of six to be selected for an overseas posting.

I was given a fortnight of leave of which five days were spent for travel to Onanole and back to Halifax. We embarked from Halifax for England on September 14, 1940. A rough passage ensued with American warships escorting the convoy to mid-Atlantic while a corvette and German submarines escorted the convoy for the remainder of the 18 day voyage. We were served mutton, in grand English style, twice a day for the entire voyage.

I spent 20 enjoyable, but momentous, months servicing Rolls Royce engines on a Spitfire fighter planes at air fields all over England. Nevertheless, I was pleased to return to Canada in July 1943 to train as a pilot. I was stationed at Regina, Virden and Souris and flew Cornel and Avro Anson aeroplanes. Because wonders never cease, I graduated as a pilot officer on October 19, 1944 after completing some 400 hours of flying.

I had invited Dad and Mum to attend my graduation, but Dad died nine days before the graduation day. By coincidence, I had to make an all day cross county flight which took me over Onanole. I could not resist putting on a low level flying demonstration for the family. Dad waved enthusiastically and seemed to be pleased, however, that evening, I was informed Dad had died of a brain haemorrhage. Dad would have been pleased to climb into the Anson aircraft as well as trying his hand at flying a Link trainer. Uncle Dave accompanied Mum and he enjoyed these activities.

I was discharged from the RCAF in March, 1945, but gave serious consideration to flying Spitfire naval planes (Seafires) in the Far East in May 1945. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and I enrolled at the University of Manitoba to study engineering. A brief return engagement with the RCAF occurred in the summer of 1945, but a career in the RCAF was no longer an attractive option.

In August 1945, prior to enrolling at the University, I took a train and ferry trip to Vancouver Island where I was employed in the Bloedel Stewart and Welsh lumber operation. They had a mill in Port Alberni, but I worked at another mill at the beautiful location of Long Lake, 40 km NW of Alberni

I spent two months working in the machine shop and logging trees in the huge forest. The power saw blade was six feet long and the saw was operated by an engine operator and the tree feller. I operated the engine and although I was young and healthy, it was hard work. I well remember the thrill of felling trees 36 inches in diameter and 250 feet high.

Engineering students usually spent their summers working on land survey crews or on other engineering projects. However, for inexplicable reasons, I decided to grow potatoes. I intended to grow only a few acres of certified seed potatoes, but due to the problems associated with maintaining certified seed standards, I switched to growing table potatoes. I purchased a new tractor together with the necessary equipment and before long I was growing and harvesting 35 acres.

Operating a large potato farm was risky and labour intensive but, the marketing was the main challenge. Potato prices ranged from one cent to three cents per pound delivered. It was difficult to operate the farm while attending university but, I received greatly appreciated assistance from Vic and Fred. And the contribution of the school kids should not be overlooked. Twenty to thirty kids would turn out, on the labour day weekend to pick and bag the potatoes at 10 cents per bushel. It seems that the Mintys are driven by an obsession to be entrepreneurs, risk takers and challenge seekers. Perhaps we are a bit odd but we could do worse.

I graduated from University of Manitoba with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1951 and was awarded an Athlone Fellowship to study engineering in England for two years. I attended the College of Aeronautics and completed post graduate study in June, 1953. During the summer of 1952, I had the good fortune to work in research and development at the Rolls Royce aero engine division on at Derby) England. This was an experience never to be forgotten.

In September, 1953, I joined the staff of the Engineering Department at McGill University to teach mechanical engineering. I spent two interesting and instructive years there, followed by employment with the consulting firm of Adalia Ltd. in Montreal.

In 1954, I married Elaine Fisher and we lived in Lachine, Que. Our eldest son, Keith Charles was born on December 15 and he was a model baby making our introduction to raising a family an enjoyable experience. I was sent by Adalia to Redondo Beach, California and spent two productive years as a senior engineer designing and developing components for a computer firm at a time when computers were in their infancy. Our second son, Bruce Allan, was born in Inglewood, California on October 1, 1956.

I returned to the office of Adalia, Montreal in December 1956 and at the same time served as a sessional lecturer at McGill. In 1957, I received an appointment as an assistant professor from Carleton University.

We moved to Manotick, On. in 1958 where we resided until December 1980. We spent the summer of 1959 in Quebec City with the Defence Research Board. Our only daughter Heather Micheline, was born September 10, 1959 in this delightful city, hence the french touch in her name.

In 1960, I joined the consulting engineering firm of Giffels and Vallet to work on the Pine Tree Line for the Canadian and the USA military defence systems. My position of Chief Mechanical Engineer and Project Manager was a significant change from previous engineering assignments and involved travel from coast to coast. Our fourth and last child Colin David was born on February 8, 1961.

In March 1963, I accepted a position as a partner with the consulting firm Brais, Frigon & Hanley. After 17 years with the firm, I accepted a two year contract with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This involved research for various engineering projects which was very interesting and a pleasant change from the rigorous life of consulting engineering.

In September, 1982, I founded my own firm, DHM Energy Consultants Ltd. to provide engineering services on a wide variety of projects, with an emphasis of central heating and cooling plants as well as energy consumption in buildings. On the day the firm was incorporated, a large Swedish consulting firm started negotiations with me to form a cooperative partnership. This partnership lasted five years and resulted in a new learning experience because they were world leaders in a wide range of energy related activities and projects. This joint venture involved visits to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries as well as close working relationship with their engineers.

After completing nearly 100 projects, I decided to reduce full time activities by the end of 1995. I intend to continue on a part-time basis in consulting engineering involving special projects for selected clients.

I look forward to spending more time in leisure activities especially with Doris Jelly who has been my dear companion for ten years. This relationship followed thenned dissolution of 29 years of marriage to Elaine.

The children who, of course, are mature adults are scattered far and wide. Keith and Beth and their two children Douglas and Allison live in Surrey, BC; Bruce and Colin live in Calgary and Heather lives in Coral Gables, Florida. Keith is a mining engineering consultant; Bruce is a plumber; and currently working in Boise, Idaho. Colin manufactures gas detection systems and Heather is an architect, but currently working as an AutoCad Technical Support person. We keep in touch by phone, fax, letters and occasional visits, I hope the visits will increase as my engineering work decreases.

Prepared by: Dalton Minty
 
Date: September 18, 1995